Jacob Huesman and Keon Williams look to lead the Mocs at Central Michigan on Thursday night.
Courtesy: GoMocs.com
No. 14 Mocs Open 2014 at Central Michigan

Chattanooga Mocs Football Game Notes
No. 14/16 Chattanooga Mocs (0-0, 0-0 SoCon) at Central Michigan Chippewas (0-0, 0-0 MAC)
Thursday – Aug. 28 – 7:00 p.m. (E.D.T.)
Kelly/Shorts Stadium (30,255) – Mount Pleasant, Mich.
 Mocs Sports Network – 96.1 The Beat FM (flagship) – Jim Reynolds (pxp), Todd Agne (Color)

TV:  ESPN3 – Shawn Kenney (pxp), John Gregory (color)
Online:  Live scoring and audio broadcast on GoMocs.com

The 14th-ranked University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team opens the 2014 college football season this week with a Thursday night road trip to Central Michigan.  The Mocs visit the Chippewas on Aug. 28 for a 7:00 p.m. (E.D.T.) kickoff on ESPN3. 

UTC owns its highest preseason ranking in school history, checking in at No. 14 in the Sports Network top 25 and No. 16 in the FCS Coaches Poll.  The Mocs are picked to win the Southern Conference title after posting an 8-4 record in 2013.  UTC returns 39 letter winners and 15 starters to last year’s team that won a share of the SoCon Championship with a 6-2 league mark.

Central Michigan returns 19 starters from a team that finished 6-6 overall, 5-3 (tied for third) in the MAC West.  The Chippewas are picked fourth in the MAC West, behind Toledo, Northern Illinois and Ball State. 

The Mocs Sports Network broadcasts the game on 96.1 The Beat in Chattanooga.  Jim Reynolds has the play-by-play with Todd Agne giving the color commentary.  A free audio stream of the game is available through MocsVision on GoMocs.com.

A video broadcast of the game is available on ESPN3.  A direct link can be found on the schedule page on GoMocs.com.  Shawn Kenney handles the play-by-play duties and color commentary is provided by John Gregory.

On first reference, it is acceptable to refer to us as the “University of Tennessee at Chattanooga”.  After that, we prefer to be called “Chattanooga” or “UTC.”  Our nickname is “Mocs.”

UTC returns a total of 39 lettermen from the 2013 campaign. There are 18 on the offensive side of the ball and 18 on defense. Three specialists also return. There are 15 starters back, including eight on offense, five on defense and two on special teams.  A complete list of starters returning and lost is available on page 13 of the game notes .pdf.  

• UTC head coach Russ Huesman is entering his sixth season at his alma mater.  He is 31-25 overall and 23-17 in Southern Conference action.  The Mocs only won 32 games total in the 10 years prior to Huesman’s arrival. 

• Coming off an 8-4 record and a share of the SoCon title in 2013, Chattanooga is ranked as high as No. 14 in the FCS preseason polls.  Officially, UTC is No. 16 in the preseason FCS Coaches Poll and No. 14 in The Sports Network Top 25, the two polls recognized by the NCAA.  It is the highest preseason ranking in school history for the Mocs. 

• Senior DE Davis Tull is on the Buck Buchanan Award Watch List for the second year in a row.  He is the FCS active leader and the Mocs’ all-time record holder with 26.5 sacks in three seasons.  He is the two-time defending SoCon Defensive Player of the Year and the coaches pick to win the award again.

• Junior QB Jacob Huesman is on the Walter Payton Award Watch List.  He was the 2013 SoCon Offensive Player of the Year and No. 4 in the nation with a 68.3 completion percentage. 

• Tull, Huesman, senior TE Faysal Shafaat and senior DE Derrick Lott have all earned various preseason All-American honors heading. 

• Tull, Huesman, Shafaat, senior RB Keon Williams, senior punter Nick Pollard and senior punt returner Tommy Hudson have all been named to the College Football Performance Awards Watch Lists for their positions.

• Central Michigan head coach Dan Enos is 19-30 in four seasons with the Chippewas. 

• CMU returns 19 starters from a team that finished 6-6 overall, 5-3 and tied for third in the MAC West.

• Senior WR Titus Davis was a first team All-MAC honoree a year ago when he caught 61 passes for 1,109 yards and eight touchdowns. He is on the Biletnikoff Award Preseason Watch List as the nation’s top receiver.

• The Chippewas return all five starters on the offensive line.  Center Nick Beamish is on the Rimington Trophy Watch List for the best center in the FBS.  Senior guard Andy Phillips is on the Rotary Lombardi Trophy Watch List.

• Sophomore quarterback Cooper Rush returns after completing 56.7 percent of his passes for 15 touchdowns. He was also intercepted 15 times.

• Junior RB Saylor Lavallii was CMU’s top rusher in 2013 with 807 yards (4.4 per carry).  The backfield welcomes transfers Thomas Rawls (Michigan) and Matt Zakrzewski (Indiana).

• The defense returns the MAC’s leading tackler in senior LB Justin Cherocci who is also on the Lombardi Trophy Watch List. 

• This is the first meeting between these two teams. 

• Chattanooga is 2-0 all time against current MAC teams.  The Mocs defeated Bowling Green in 1976 and 1977.  UTC had a big rivalry with former MAC member Marshall when the Thundering Herd was in the Southern Conference.  The Mocs were 13-7 all-time against Marshall.  

• Chattanooga is 59-46-1 (.561) in all-time season openers ... the Mocs have lost four straight openers ... two of those were to FBS teams. 

• This is one of two games against FBS teams for the Mocs in 2014.  UTC also travels to Tennessee on Oct. 11. 

• UTC junior DL Daniel Ring and CMU DB Denzel Wimberly were teammates at Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

• The UTC-CMU game is one of just 14 NCAA Division I college football games on Thursday night.  It is also only one of seven games on the ESPN family of networks.

Four Mocs were elected captains by their teammates for the 2014 season.  Seniors Davis Tull and Tommy Hudson and juniors Jacob Huesman and Josh Freeman were chosen for their leadership on and off the field.  This is Huesman’s second year as a captain and the first for the other three.   

Coming off a share of its first Southern Conference title since 1984, the Chattanooga Mocs were picked by both the league’s coaches and media to win the title in 2014.  The coaches picked Chattanooga ahead of 2013 co-champs Furman and Samford. The Mocs got six of a possible eight first-place votes. Wofford is fourth followed by Western Carolina, The Citadel and a tie between Mercer and VMI.  The media was a bit more emphatic. The squad received 29 of 30 first-place tallies. Furman is second trailed by Samford, Wofford, Western Carolina, The Citadel, Mercer and VMI.  It is the first time since 1982 the Mocs grabbed the preseason nod from either the coaches or media.

The coaches select the preseason all-conference teams. Five Mocs earned first team mention, while four more slotted on the second team. Preseason Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year Jacob Huesman and Davis Tull headlined the first teamers joined by running back Keon Williams, guard Synjen Herren and tight end Faysal Shafaat. Offensive tackle Corey Levin, defensive tackles Josh Freeman and Derrick Lott and punter Nick Pollard all claimed second team honors.

The Mocs enjoyed one of their most successful seasons in school history in 2013.  UTC went 8-4 overall, securing a share of the Southern Conference title for the first time since 1984 with a 6-2 mark in league play.  It is the most league wins for Chattanooga since joining the SoCon in 1977 and the most overall victories since 1980.  The Mocs finished the year No. 25 in the FCS Coaches Poll and No. 23 in The Sports Network Top 25.  It was the first year-end national ranking for UTC since the 1984 season. 

• UTC posted its fourth winning season in the last five years.  The last time the Mocs had four winning seasons in five years was 1983-87.  

• Head coach Russ Huesman joined Joe Morrison as the only Moc to win two SoCon Coach of the Year honors.  Coach Huesman and Buddy Nix are the only Mocs to win the honor from their peers. 

Davis Tull became the program’s first Academic All-American.

• Mocs tied a school record with nine on the All-SoCon team.

• UTC was No. 4 in the nation with just 32.8 penalty yards per game. 

• UTC averaged 9,222 fans per game at Finley Stadium, ranking fourth in the SoCon and No. 25 in the FCS.

• The Mocs led the SoCon in total defense (328.9) and scoring defense (20.4).  They were 17th and 11th, nationally, in those respective categories.

• Chattanooga led the league and was fifth in the FCS in passing defense (151.6).

• UTC led the SoCon and was No. 36 in the nation in pass efficiency defense (120.60).

• The Mocs allowed just 17.0 first downs per game.  That was second in the SoCon and 23rd nationally. 

• Junior DE Davis Tull was named the SoCon Defensive Player of the Year, finishing second in the SoCon with 9.0 sacks ... he set the Mocs all-time sack record (26.5) at Elon on Oct. 19.

• UTC was second in the SoCon with 11 interceptions.

• UTC held five opponents to less than 300 yards of total offense, five in 2012 and six in 2011...UTC has held at least four opponents to less than 300 yards in each of Russ Huesman’s five seasons ... prior to his arrival in 2009, the last time Chattanooga held four opponents to under 300 yards in a season was 2000.

• Senior DBs Kadeem Wise and D.J. Key and senior LB Wes Dothard joined Tull as First Team All-SoCon selections.  Sophomore DL Josh Freeman made the second team and DE Keionta Davis made the SoCon All-Freshman squad. 

• The Mocs were No. 22 in the FCS and No. 4 in the SoCon in rushing at 212.4 yards per game. 

• UTC was No. 25 in the nation and No. 4 in the SoCon in Pass Efficiency (142.30). 

• Chattanooga was second in the SoCon and is No. 23 in the country in 3rd-down conversion percentage (71/161 - 44.1%).

• Sophomore QB Jacob Huesman was the SoCon Offensive Player of the Year. 

• The Mocs rushed for over 2,000 yards for the first time since 2005 (2,549) and just the second time since 1992.  The school record for rushing yards in a season is 3,332 in 1977.   

Special Teams
• Senior Chaz Moore was No. 10 in the nation in KOR average (29.1).

• Junior Tommy Hudson was second in the SoCon and No. 26 in the nation with a 9.1 yard punt return average. 

• Junior Nick Pollard handled both the punting and place-kicking duties.  He was 5-10 on field goals and averaged 40.7 yards per punt.  Of his 51 punts, 23 were downed inside the 20, 13 of those inside the 10 and seven of those inside the five.

Tickets to the Mocs’ Oct. 11 game at Tennessee are on sale now.  Chattanooga football season ticket holders and Mocs Club members were emailed a link to buy Tennessee game tickets on June 2, and are allowed to purchase up to their season ticket total.  Mocs Club members at the Starter Moc level ($75) or higher who do not have UTC football season tickets can purchase up to two (2) Tennessee game tickets.  Fans who have UTC football season tickets and are members of the Mocs Club at the Starter Moc level or higher, can purchase their ticket limit plus two additional tickets to the Tennessee game.

The Mocs have seven of their 12 games slated for broadcast in the upcoming season.  Chattanooga appears on ESPN3 twice, while an additional four games are available on the newly formed American Sports Network (ASN), an initiative launched by the Sinclair Broadcast Group.  The Tennessee game is available on the SEC Network.  Central Michigan and Wofford are the ESPN3 games, while Samford, The Citadel, Mercer and Furman are the ASN broadcasts.  Remaining home games against Jacksonville State and VMI stream online on MocsVision on GoMocs.com.   

The Chattanooga Mocs enter their 107th season of football in the fall of 2014.  The University of Chattanooga was founded in 1886 and football began play in 1904.  No teams were fielded in 1917 and 1918 due to World War I.  There was also a two-year hiatus from football action during World War II in 1943 and 1944.  The Mocs have an all-time record of 502-507-35 (.498) and have won 11 conference titles.

An updated roster can be found on pages 10-11 of the pdf of the game notes.  The depth chart is found on pages 14-15.

Senior Davis Tull was named to the Buck Buchanan Award Watch List.  A defensive end from Knoxville, Tenn., Tull is the two-time Southern Conference Defensive Player of the Year.  He is the first Moc to win two league player of the year honors and the first defensive player to repeat in the SoCon since Appalachian State’s Dexter Coakley took the award three times from 1994-96.  This is the second year in a row Tull has made the Buchanan Award Watch List.  He finished 13th in the national voting last season.  Tull is already the Mocs all-time leader with 26.5 career sacks.  He is also the active leader in the FCS for career sacks and career forced fumbles (8) and is second among active players in career TFLs (42.5).

Junior QB Jacob Huesman was named to the 2014 Walter Payton Award Watch List.  The Payton Award goes to the top offensive player in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) and is presented annually by The Sports Network.  Huesman was the 2013 Southern Conference Offensive Player of the Year, throwing for 16 touchdowns and rushing for nine more last season.  He was fourth in the FCS with a 68.3 completion percentage in 2013.  He connected 164 passes on 240 attempts and only had five interceptions.  His career 67% accuracy is currently the best in school history at UTC.  He was not only proficient through the air, but he was also a major weapon in the running game.  He led the Mocs with 894 rushing yards on 176 carries and was fourth in the SoCon with 211 yards of total offense per game.   He is the fifth Moc to be named to the Payton Award Watch List in recent memory, including Chris Sanders (2000), Cos DeMatteo (2001), Alonzo Nix (2004) and B.J. Coleman (2011).

Four members of the Chattanooga Mocs football team have earned preseason All-American honors from various publications heading into 2014.  Senior defensive end Davis Tull, senior tight end Faysal Shafaat and senior defensive tackle Derrick Lott all made the 2014 The Sports Network Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Preseason All-America Team.  Tull was a first team selection while Shafaat and Lott were third tem picks.  Junior QB Jacob Huesman was a third team pick by Beyond College Sports.

Senior DE Derrick Lott was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA in December.  Lott started the first four games for the Mocs at defensive tackle before an elbow injury at Georgia Southern ended his season.  He is a preseason All-American heading into 2014 and was a preseason first team All-Southern Conference selection in 2013.  Lott had 17 tackles and 2.5 TFLs before being knocked out of the Georgia Southern game.  He had a career-high three quarterback hurries at Georgia State and eight tackles in the season opener against UT Martin.  A native of Kennesaw, Ga., Lott transferred to Chattanooga from Georgia and was a second team All-SoCon performer as a junior in 2012.  He was fourth on the team with 57 tackles, including 15 in one game against Georgia Southern as a junior.

UTC finished the 2013 season ranked in the top 25 of both major polls that are recognized by the NCAA.  The Mocs were No. 23 in The Sports Network Top 25 and No. 25 in the final Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Coaches poll.  This is the first time Chattanooga was ranked in a season-ending top 25 since earning a No. 17 spot in the final NCAA Division I-AA Top 20 in 1984.  UTC was also No. 17 in the final 1982 poll, the first year of an official I-AA poll.  UTC has been ranked for 12 weeks in the Russ Huesman era (since 2009).  UTC is 4-8 when ranked in the top 25 since 2010.

A two-time SoCon Coach of the Year (2009 & 2013), Russ Huesman is 31-25 (.553) in his five years at Chattanooga after being hired as the 22nd head coach at UTC on Dec. 22, 2008.  The Mocs won exactly 32 games in the 10 previous seasons to his arrival in 2009 (32-81).  

A 1983 graduate of UTC and a former defensive back, Huesman guided Chattanooga to a 6-5 mark in 2009, equaling the number of wins UTC had seen in the previous three years combined.  Huesman is 30-20 against FCS teams with 13 of those losses coming against ranked opponents, including eight in the top 10.  He is 23-17 (.575) in SoCon action.  The program won 21 games the previous 10 campaigns to 2009 (21-55).  He is 18-8 (.692) at home, 14-16 (.467) on the road. There were just 15 road wins in the prior 11 years (1998-2008).

Prior to his return to Chattanooga, Huesman spent the 25 seasons building a reputation as one of the top defensive-minded assistant coaches in the country. He spent five seasons as the defensive coordinator at the University of Richmond before joining UTC and also coached at Memphis (1998-2003) and William & Mary (14 yrs), serving as the defensive coordinator for the 1996-97 seasons. A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Huesman played prep football at perennial power Moeller High School, where he lettered for four years under head coach Gerry Faust.

Below are some statistical trends during the Russ Huesman era that began in 2009.  To see where UTC falls in each category, both in the SoCon and nationally in the FCS, see page 5 of the game notes pdf. 

• UTC has been among the top 25 in the FCS in Turnover Margin in each of the last three seasons, including tied for 20th at +9 in 2011, 14th at +8 in 2012 and T21st at +6 last season. 

• The Mocs have been in the top 15 in the nation in pass defense in four of the five years of the Huesman era.

• Chattanooga has finished in the top 20 in total defense and scoring defense in the FCS in each of the last three seasons. 

• The Mocs have been in the top seven for fewest penalty yards in each of the last three seasons. 

• UTC has been in the top 25 in the FCS for net punting in each of the last two years.

UTC picked up its third win in program history over an FBS opponent with alst year’s 42-14 victory at Georgia State.  Prior to that, the last time the Mocs defeated an FBS team was a 9-7 win over Louisiana-Lafayette on Sept. 1, 1984, in Chattanooga.  The other win since the divisional split in 1978 was at ULL, 38-14 on Sept. 17, 1983, in Lafayette, La. 

UTC’s 35-28 win at Appalachian State on Nov. 2, 2013, secured the Mocs fourth winning record in the last five years, all during the Russ Huesman era.  UTC only had four winning seasons in the 23 years prior to Huesman’s arrival in 2009 (1986-2008).

Of the 90 members currently on the Mocs’ spring roster, 73 list Tennessee (46) or Georgia (27) as their home state.  That means 81% of the roster is from Tennessee or Georgia, including 51% from Tennessee and 30% from Georgia.  10 Mocs are from Alabama, five from Florida and one each from New York and West Virginia.  Check out page 11 of the game notes pdf for a roster breakdown.   

UTC has seen a dramatic growth in attendance at home football games since the hiring of Russ Huesman in December 2008.  Seven of the Mocs’ top 10 crowds in school history have come in the 26 home games of the Huesman era.  Chattanooga is averaging 10,603 fans per game since the start of 2009.  Prior to Huesman’s arrival, UTC averaged 5,767 fans per game in the 2008 season.  UTC averaged over 9,500 fans per game in each of his five years. Only once in the previous 12 seasons before Coach Huesman did Chattanooga football have that big of an average.

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